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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 6, 2012 6:30am-7:30am EDT

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>> some of them usually had heard from them, but some in virginia were not willing to join the caucus calls are not willing to be part of it, whereas others were. things like americans for
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prosperity, freedom works, the cato and heritage institutes in washington, we find them mentioned on websites and we tallied that, but it used was just a link, not a presence. i think there's a lot of variety in this. i have to say that i believe americans for prosperity has been outreach organizers and has established a presence in the midwest. in wisconsin and we found survey that groups are trying to send speakers out and that's a big mechanism because the local groups wanted to bring in speakers. so if free speakers are offered they will because they don't see that as control. so have a whole place where we talk about how that works as sort of leverage. the one final thing i will say is that we looked for signs of federation from below. that is, groups forming a state federation. as you know they did in virginia, and that's quite
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remarkable. there may be some signs of that in michigan, but i think on the whole the local groups often do go their own weight and don't even perceive when they're being influenced from outside. >> i would just add a tiny point, which is if they're sort of the national organization that we saw consistent approval for its fox news. conservative media were treated with more credibility than these national groups, i would say. >> my name is patrick and i'm a student here at the public policy institute. my question is, my perception that the media has tried to frame the antithesis of the tea party to be the occupy movement, and that would require a hold of the study in and of itself. but my question is in your inner actions with members of the more first tea party, what with their
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perception of the occupy movement, or if it was, if you are in keeping these people for the movement really got started, what with her sentiments toward some of the claims the occupied people are themselves making? >> that's a great question. we get our interviews before, india before occupied starts at writing firsthand accounts but have come back and revisited every tea party site in the country since then and there's i'd trust -- widespread mistrust of the occupied. more violent or apparently by the moment, so examples like the sort of an example of young people wanting something for free and being dangers. that fit closely into that narrative most of the time. in terms of, these are democratically very different groups, they're much older, much more established group than the occupy movement at least as i know is considerably younger. in terms of the ideological overlap, some people i think would like to believe that
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there's some similarity between what they believed in the sense that both people in the tea party and people in occupy are concerned about corporate power and government. i can't speak about the occupy movement by consent don't think that's true for the tea party. they tended, i sort of push on this point because i wanted to understand the mindset of it, many of the people in the tea party are small business owners, and so they tend to perceive large businesses, successful examples of small businesses, so they don't have as much concerned about corporate power as you might expect in people concerned about campaign finance, for instance. and when they were concerned about, for instance, the bailout, they tend to focus on the auto bailout and blame it on the auto workers union. or they blamed government officials for being corrupt.
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the blame was really never centered on the corporate structure itself i think. >> we didn't find a whiff of antibusiness sentiment at all. i'll say one more thing, that some of the tea party people that i got to know when this remain in touch on e-mail, in particular one gentleman who ended up being the one who helped us visit the peninsula patriots in virginia. he regularly sends me e-mails attacking occupy. it's much more on his mind than anybody i know. and i think that occupy is sort of fun anti-symbol for the tea partiers. they resent it very much, as far as i can tell from my e-mail traffic, that it got a lot of attention for a while, and they also, the list that peter sends the our list of criminal acts in
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the occupy camps. but there are lists and he sends me less supportable things that obama is doing, and lists of horrible things that the unions and the naacp are good but the principle here is that any organized force proceed to be on the left is really key dawn as an enemy. -- teed up on as an enemy. >> i'm wondering if you could talk a bit about the question of race that's implicit in a lot of things, and it may be very difficult to talk with even the context of your interviews, but for a lot of people into their in many different guys. i wonder if you talk about a bit? >> i'll start. i think we both say something about that because of course the context in which we did this research, for example, one of the tea party people we met in
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virginia said where you come from everybody thinks we are a bunch of ignorant, racist rednecks. that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not entirely. there is a widespread perception which came from some of the coverage of the more extreme things that people were saying at rallies, and a small number of signs that said truly disgusting things with obvious racial overtones. so in our interviews we were listening. and, in fact, in our interviews we were mainly listening. if you going to come from cambridge, massachusetts, to sit down with tea party people, you better just be in a respectful listening mode. so our interviews all started with a question, tell us about
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yourself and how you came to the tea party. and only then moved on to things like what don't you like about government? what do you like about government, which surprised everyone when it asked them that question. we listen to what they said about who were the kinds of people they resented, widely feared and hated barack obama and to with the freeloaders, the moochers that they didn't want to get benefit. there's no question that language that has been historic associated with black-white racial stereotyping came up in the interviews. usually not deliberately, but this was of course people who were trying not -- they knew we suspected them. local leaders that we
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interviewed went out of their way to try to make sure that racially charged language and accusations did not come up in their meetings. so that was to even in a meeting that i attended incognito. it was a public meeting so i could be there. in some ways language was more loaded about immigrants, who are assumed to be mostly illegal. even though that's actually not at all true. muslims and muslim-americans, nobody tried to disguise their hatred in any way about those categories of people. and young people, quite a few not so nice things were said. so we really do believe that tensions, long historical tensions about race, play a role in this. and that for many of these older
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people, seeing barack obama elected president must've been shocking, due to the color of his skin. but we don't think it was mainly that. we think it was a combination of that with foreign father. young people are all obama, obama, obama. you could hear in her voice their perception of the 2 million people screaming at the inauguration, and she didn't like it. and the fact that he is a college professor, very, very bad in tea party land. because college professors are seeing tv seen, people come up with an obscure scheme to impose on real americans, to benefit freeloaders, and to enroll 11 million illegal immigrants as voters so that real americans can be defeated in the next election. all of those things were said,
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so next to those prejudices, the black-white prejudice was kind of down there in what we heard. >> i'll just say quickly that they were definitely being careful in a navy. in one particular moment there was a man, he said this was an omission, he was a member of the john birch society, and so he was, we asked that opening question, what brought you to the tea party. he said i first became aware of the problem, and then he stopped, and then he said i love foreigners, and changed the subject. [laughter] and odyssey people were being, you're being careful, you know you're talking to harvard academics come down to your town. people were being very careful. but if you think, i used to stress this point, concerns about mexican-americans. there's an assumption that they
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really be lied to the category of mexican-americans with a legal immigrant, they are not well distinguish categories. and there was a very deep concern about sharia law, sort of, some sort of an islamic takeover of the united states is a very popular idea in tea party circles but those are the most visceral fears i recall hearing. >> my name is brad. i'm in the sociology department at my interest is in the religious compositions of the tea party movement and the role religion plays. you made a distinction between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, implying that those more social conservatives in the mix. yet one of the that the priorities, they seem to be primarily fiscal, fiscally conservative priorities. so basically the religious composition and the role of religion is playing in the tea party movement.
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>> that was a question that really we were interested in, and we were interested in it partly because the academic literature that we were family with going into this research would suggest it's very hard for people to organize brand-new groups in a short period of time. in fact, you know, given where american civic lives have been over the last several decades it's highly unusual to see regular social groups for but i have to admit going into the research i thought many of these are going to be relays of either libertarian or christian conservative groups, religious conservative groups. we did not find for the most part that the groups were relabeled previous but most of the group seemed to genuinely come about through the efforts of the organizers of sets of people who met one another perhaps the protests or through letters to the editors in the newspaper, and then decided to use technologies like meet up or
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announcements on local talk radio to bring together a group. the groups are internally diverse on this line of somewhat more secular libertarian versus religious conservatives place a high priority on fighting abortion and gay-rights. i would say that it's, for the most part that is a divide that runs through the middle of groups. that local organizers have to manage. and that's quite a divide to manage. and one of the ways they managed it is by placing the emphasis at least in the overt statements on the things that they all agree about, you know, opposing obama, getting rid of obamacare, cracking down on immigrants and cutting expense. but in an actual meeting, the meeting may be held in a church. it may start with a christian prayer along with which all tea party meeting start with the pledge of allegiance.
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some start with a prayer, some don't. and it may well come at the meeting i attend in virginia where the leader who i thought was just a remarkable organizer. i write about her in the book. what a lovely woman in many ways. she learned to organize groups like organizing theater, volunteer theater productions in charlottesville. she's just such a good organizer. she contacted me today after the meeting i visited to say that my observation of a member standing up to say how wonderful it was that the virginia legislature had just voted through the law that harass his the medical clinics that provide access to abortion by forcing them to retool themselves as hospitals, which would, she said, drive them all out of business. the whole room was excited about that, and i observed that. she knew i observed. she e-mailed me the next day, to assure me that the tea party
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doesn't really prioritize social conservative causes. and i think that tells us something. the organizers tried very hard to play down because they're casting a broader umbrella they formed a group that isn't just a local church group, or church network, but the people, many of them, probably 60%, 70% around the country are often fervent evangelical protestant, conservative believers. >> jonathan real. i did a dissertation on the federalist society. it has a lot of parallels in what you're discussing. federal society is a membership organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers, lawsuits, policy peoplecome has a face on presence in d.c., was famously labeled the core of the right wing conspiracy by hillary clinton some years ago.
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inviting that i continue to do on conservatism, an interesting thing that i heard from folks of the kind of goldwater, rated era, and a curious about your reaction, i for a lot of resentment towards the tea party from folks in kind of the federal society circles which tend to be more intellectual that tend to be, you know, a different demographic as well because there you get a lot of young conservatives who pride themselves on following the footsteps of goldwater and reagan. and sometimes off the record but here, a fair amount of disdain that's not coming from left. it's coming from this different category of kind of the people who try to hold the torch of william f. buckley, look at these folks as you were saying, some as some on the left look at the tea partiers as these rednecks who are racist, et cetera, et cetera.
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but whether in your research he found out you encounter in discussion of this kind of different strand of more intellectual conservative thought, goldwater in your opening. i'm just wondering how it really sounds like there's a -- i'm sure this is what we think about that kind of, the intellectual side of conservatism in the movements pursue what you're describing is this new wave. >> i think i would say there wasn't a lot of focus, in the same way it was a lot of focus on the groups that were really trying to link to the tea party. it just didn't seem so do the work they were doing at the local level. was a lot of focus on sort of thing. about 200 tea partiers that are member i visited their website, catalog some things about them, about 200 belong to the cato institute. it's not that there's no link to this d.c. base tradition, but
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people in general seem very focused on local affairs. >> you know, this isn't an intellectual movement. and one of the things that happens when you go out and spend time with tea party people and listen to them, schmooze with them, they have the same kind of divisions and prejudices about one another that you might expect. i mean, i wouldn't be at all surprised if many of the elite old line, either libertarian conservatives or buckley stop conservatives look at this and think my goodness, i may, there are a fair number of elite groups that have looked at it and said wow, we can use this to knock out barack obama and take the trifecta in 2012, and that's what they were doing. and now they're finding that they get to the point where they're supposed to tell these people to stand down and they are not standing down.
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so what else is surprising here? this is america. in virginia, which it did get to know pretty well because i visited tea parties in more than one part of the state, and also did an interview with some state level leaders, they have stereotypes about each other. i mean, the tea partiers around charlottesville referred to the christian conservative parties around lynchburg and very disdainful ways. and elite from central virginia told me that the tea partiers up in fairfax and alexandria were a bunch of winos. so, you know, they have got an internal geography about themselves, much as you might find on the liberal left about the first different strands.
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>> i'm just curious, what percentage of the people which is actually joined the groups versus were of the tea party rouse themselves with the reason i ask that is i've been a tea party member probably since the beginning of a lot of things are conveying are not, would not have been my experience at the rallies, yet i don't join a group and maybe the reason people aren't in groups, they are raising kids, they are busy. the older people have the time to join. i would just like your perspective on that because i think we're more concerned, leaves the rallies i went to about fiscal responsibility, and it just as angry. those are the two things that i call -- >> there's no question that they're angry at republicans. if i didn't stress that, i'm into. we need to make a distinction here. are these people who vote for democrats? no, they're not. they never did. but are they distrustful of the republican party as it was under george bush? are they unenthusiastic about
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the john mccains of this work was are they suspicious that republicans often fill up to the principles they believe in? absolutely. i will say though that our statements about the demography of the tea party are not simply based on our interviews, meetings weekend. if they were the would not be good social science. what we did in our research was to gather all of the national surveys that reported on tea party sympathizers and people who said that they didn't want more things like attend a rally or, well attended rally would be the most useful center check. and we compared what those said about those broad categories of people, which at one point probably about 25% of americans fell into those broad categories with what we are seeing in our interviews and our observations. and the activists that attend meetings and form groups are very small fraction of the larger groups, but the
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demography is not that different. they are older, 45 and but for the most part, with some younger people. so these are statistical statements by making, not absolute statements. and i wouldn't get all surprised if not actual rallies some of the people who came on a saturday afternoon were younger than those who would typically attend a sit down meeting. but all the things we said about the tendency to be older, those are based on both kinds of evidence. >> i'll take a point of privilege to i wonder if you tell us a little bit more about what you see as the origins of the antipathy towards young people as freeloaders? >> we able to say something about that. i will start by saying, first of all, as somebody who is in her '60s, i want to report that it's not uncommon for
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60-year-olds to sit around and say that the world is going down the drain. this is, this is human. so part of what it is is older conservatives engage in same kind of grousing that older liberals engage in about how then people just aren't doing the things the way we did, and we did it better. i think the other part of it is that the economy, for example, has changed in such fundamental ways so quickly so that many of these people have grandchildren, for example, who haven't gotten a job and who are living at home with mom and dad, and they don't appear to be getting on lies flatter the way that the grandparents or even the parents were able to do. and it's not surprising and particularly not surprising from a conservative perspective to
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moralize those feelings. the other part of it is that the younger generation doesn't think the same way about a lot of moral and cultural questions as older people do. they are are incredibly big differences and the younger generation is more black and brown than the older generation. so you just add all these things together, and particularly from an older conservative perspective, it's easy to be distrustful of people who appear to be doing things the wrong way, demanding benefits and money and opportunities they have not yet earned, and just in general they're just not the america we built. and so you do that from tea partiers but we built this country. we worked hard. it's been taken away from us. spink i think with three minutes left, so one quick question.
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>> i work here at the institute. so the tea party members, they remember the cuyahoga river burning. they remember smoggy days, so why opposition to environmental protection? >> i think that's a great question. and i think it does get to the real core question, when people are conservatives and this idea of conservation, maybe they are related terms answer of not using more than you need are all ideas that people practice in their private lives in something, you become tea party members talked about clipping coupons which is him like a related sort of ideological or value. but the thing about environmentalism, at least as it is sort of perceived by many people we spoke to in the tea party, it's that it's a set of rules or an ideology that coastal elites want to impose on real america, right? so they want to take away our
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guns, they want to take away our cars. they don't approve of my life so. and so that concern, this feeling that there are some bureaucrats and people in the ivory tower grabbed a better idea of how i'm supposed to live with something witty or again and again. i think that is what was overriding other concerns a deeply into an id of conservation, i think. >> i think this is also an area where the elite free market groups that leapt into the tea party for i have played a very active role. one of the meetings that we attended in virginia and it later turned out the same speakers were making their way across different tea party in virginia, because word of mouth. somebody comes and gives a lecture, it resonates, you recommend it to other key parties and they may invite them. it would campaign for liberty speakers who are paid professional speakers. they delivered an hour long, incredibly dense, very boring powerpoint, which i thought, i
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was taking notes and i thought this isn't going to go over. was about how the local committees designing bike paths were simply a manifestation of a decade-long conspiracy hatched by agenda 21 under the auspices of the united nations and involving democrats and republicans alike to impose communism on america by other means. and we get to the question. and i thought well, somebody's going to speak appear and ask a critical question. and not a single person did. instead, they added examples which, and i think this is typical of the lot of populist right wing thinking, to draw an analogy, the expense of a small business owner or a homeowner with a local zoning board, which is extremely irritating to people, zoning boards. they really are. they try to tell you where you
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go to window in your house. they tried to do that with me. i didn't like it. so to draw an analogy between those daily irritations from government bureaucrats, and a u.n. conspiracy to remake american businesses, put thermostats in every house that are going to regulate the temperature for you. we couldn't figure out where that came from, and then vanessa went to the fox news transcript and there it was. many of the tea partiers that we talked to told us they watch fox is six to eight hours a day. so i think there was a big push about the time we're doing our interviews to get a certain scare image of environmentalism out there, and we can report that it was working. >> on that note, thank you all for it to me. it was a wonderful discussion. [applause]
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there's a reception upstairs. they will be signing books on the second floor here. >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at or tweet us at >> make some booktv, jonathan haidt presents his thoughts on the divisions that he contends separate the left and right. the social psychologist examines the origins of these fissures and explains that people's moral intuition, the initial perceptions we have of others, robert gates the idea of the people who view the world differently from how we do are wrong. this is a little over an hour. >> higher the one. thank you so much for being here.


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